A mother's tale: obedience or sacrifice?

Yesterday while enjoying a long country drive through long rolling hills ... having good conversation with my husband, and us soaking up the brightly beaming sunshine, my thoughts went to obedience vs. sacrifice.  Ocean of waves rolled through my thoughts on the subject, in between my breaks of talks"Awe, what a nice topic to blog about," I thought as I looked far into the horizon... wind hitting my face.

Once I was home, immediately upon walking through the door, I saw my 17 year-old son lying on the couch in a peculiar way.  "What's wrong with you?"  I ask him.

"I'm weak."

"Have you eaten?"

"No ma'am,"  he says.

Right after those words left his mouth, my 11 year-old daughter called out, "Mom!  Look at my finger!  I think it's broken."

Following her cry, came the lamentation of my two younger daughters Krishtiana 10 and Kennlie seven,  "Mom can we come out of our rooms yet?"

Sniffle, cough ... sniffle ... cough.  This is what I hear coming from the kitchen where my 16 year-old daughter is washing dishes.

"Are you sick?"  I asked her.

"Wow."  Is what comes to my mind. "All I wanted to do Lord was come home and relax with you.  I wanted to bathe, read my Bible, pray and read my book, "The Love of God by Oswald Chambers," before I start writing.  Is that asking too much?  Is there something wrong with my petition?  Am I not choosing that which is a good thing? I just want to serve you—that's it."

"You want to serve me?  Tend to my sheep—those little lambs that I've given you," he says.

"Huh, Lord?  I don't understand?"

"Wasn't it you who has just told me that obedience is better than sacrifice?  Didn't you just say that you wanted to talk about that?  Then be obedient.  Tend to your children.  What you aspire to do my daughter is a good thing in deed.  You wanted to demonstrate your relationship with me by reading your books—praying. . .But what I look for daughter aren't 'rituals,' I look for obedience out of love.  Tend to my sheep."

As I stood in my living room in disbelief of not only God's attitude, but in the atmosphere of my home.    looking at the countenance of each child.  Looking at my husband, I saw that they were in need of me—their mother—their wife.

The house is in shambles and so are they.  I think most of it is from the death of my father and the toll that not only his death took on them, but the toll that it has taken on me.  We are all drained. 

After standing in my living room, having my talk with my God in my mind, I finally said, "Okay Lord."  

And I began to tend to each matter before me.

I made sure my son got orange juice, bananas, spaghetti and salad.  He has a tendency to go too long without eating and drinking and becomes dehydrated.  I noticed when he was at my mother's he didn't eat.

Then I gave my daughter Children's Tylenol and iced her finger down.  After that I poured honey in a container and squeezed a few lemons into the container before cutting up and adding garlic to my home made concoction for my daughters cough.

I then told the younger girls they could come out of their room and I talked to them about their behavior. Then I  talked to my husband, took my bath, talked to my husband some more and went to bed.

By then I was too tired to read my Bible.  Although I did manage to throw a few loads of laundry into the washing machine.

Not once did I pick up my Bible or prostrate myself in the bending position to pray.  But I went to bed happy—nonetheless, because I knew that all that I'd done since walking into my home Sunday evening, was done out of obedience to a father who loves me very much.

Is making sacrifices to the Lord a bad thing?  Of course not, but what I am reminded of and what I want to remind you of is to always look at our reason behind our sacrifices and our rituals, rather than the sacrifice itself.  Why we do what we do—our reason is key to everything.

Had I just been bent on "reading my Bible and praying regardless of what was needed around me" my Bible reading and prayer would have been reduced to nothing more than a ritual.  To be brutally honest with you all, I didn't feel like doing what was required of me last night.  Reading my Bible and praying would have been an easier route for me.  What I had to do last night was draining for me energy wise and emotionally .  I actually didn't think I had what was called to get the job done, but God provided me with what was needed for the task He called me to.  Thus my obedience became my sacrifice to Him.  It was my worship of service to Him—me seeing after my family.  Me seeing after my family became the holy work and not my reading the Bible or praying.

Please don't get me wrong.  There is nothing wrong with Bible reading and praying. I do however, have a  nugget of advice to share with you.  It's very simple advice: "Just watch your motives."  Always check yourself knowing why you are doing what you do.  And remember that God always requires us to be obedient first.

"Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD?  Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice." ~ 1 Samuel 15:22a

Gratitude list 175-182

~ For God being God
~ family and friends ... people who love me unconditionally
~ blogging friends who sent such kind emails and prayers, videos, and songs during my sadness
~ friends who showed up at my father's memorial
~ fellowship at the memorial
~ food, food, food
~ old pictures that made me laugh and cause me to pause and give thanks

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